Speakings: The Artist’s Book as a Vehicle for Knowledge ​

Stephanie Black 'Dear' Artist's Book in various stages of decay

I gave a paper at this conference on artists' books last weekend:  http://livresdartistes.weebly.com/ 

In summary: excellent speakers, charming delegates, particularly good keynotes from Sam Winston and Sarah Bodman, and a notepad full of exciting book projects to swot up on. 

Mine was about the performative possibilities inherent within the doctoral thesis-as-artist's book. The abstract:

The Artist’s Book as a Vehicle for Knowledge

This paper will propose that that the artists’s book is capable of carrying an academic argument in a demonstrative and experiential manner, and will explore some of the benefits and pitfalls for the practitioner-researcher arising from this. The rationale for this topic’s contemporary relevance lies in the shift within universities towards digital submissions for research outputs and access to scholarship through digital repositories. Against this backdrop of stringent regulations and layout requirements that do not embrace the possibilities offered by digital submissions, I shall be arguing for the continued opportunity to embrace the strengths of digital outputs within physical forms.

To begin, the paper will outline the strengths of the physical book as a way of conveying a thesis, with reference to works by Catrin Morgan, Richard McGuire and Helene Pertl, and with a nod to Ron King. These are books which show as well as tell, and demonstrate the strengths of using materials, structure and sequence to make a convincing case. Following this, an evaluative look at the messiness of using the book form to reach a wider audience will be offered, taking in the issues of mechanical reproduction and language barriers. The paper will then conclude by proposing that the artist’s book may be positioned as commensurate with generous moves towards open access publishing and accessibility of knowledge.